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TIfin Marc McDonough TIFIN @Work
Marc McDonough, president and COO of TIFIN @Work

TIFIN, Franklin Templeton To Launch TIFIN @Work

The AI-powered employee financial wellness platform is meant to help small- to mid-sized advisors gain traction in the retirement plan market.

TIFIN and Franklin Templeton announced TIFIN @Work, what the firms calls an "AI-powered employee financial wellness" platform.

TIFIN @Work is intended to help employee plan participants assess their workplace benefit plan options and receive automated investment advice on contributions and allocations. TIFIN is partnering with Franklin Templeton’s Workplace Retirement Distribution Business to distribute TIFIN @Work to advisors and their employer clients.

Marc McDonough, president and COO of TIFIN @Work, said TIFIN has been building TIFIN @Work for around six months and will roll out the platform in a few weeks. TIFIN @Work is focused on advisors in the small- and mid-tier market who are working with companies with smaller 401(k)s, said McDonough.

“These are plan advisors that don’t have the money to have great technical solutions for these employees,” he said. “(It) gives everybody access to technology (that) for a long time was only there for the largest advisors.”

TIFIN @Work joins a crowded marketplace of digital financial advice and wellness tools for workplace benefit plan participants such as Betterment, Pocketnest, BrightPlan, LearnLux and InvestCloud Pink.

“I’m happy to see TIFIN join this group,” said Wally Okby, strategic advisor for wealth management for Datos Insights (formerly the Aite-Novarica Group).

Okby said making this kind of financial planning accessible to plan participants, who often have little advice to go on when selecting options inside their plans, will raise client expectations, and he expects even more financial institutions and fintech firms to continue launching similar initiatives in 2024.

McDonough said TIFIN @Work has a competitive advantage because it was built from scratch.

“A lot of these firms have been around for a while, but there is a tech debt,” he said. “We can build with speed and what’s required now … versus what was required 10 years ago in the marketplace.”

TIFIN @Work also seeks to set themselves apart from the pack by using generative AI to encourage participants to act, said McDonough. For example, if a company offers a 401(k) match, TIFIN @Work will show employees how their contributions would be impacted by the matching funds and illustrate different scenarios based on participation levels.

“Look at the difference between your retirement at age 65 if you take advantage of the match versus if you’re not taking advantage of the match,” he said. “We can quickly show them the difference in the growth of their overall 401(k) to encourage action so then they say, ‘I’ll at least do the match or maybe even do more.’”

For the generative AI piece, McDonough said TIFIN @Work uses an API from OpenAI fed through their proprietary software. Corporate clients will be able to submit plan documents, which are read by the AI-enabled tool so employees can have benefit questions answered conversationally on the platform.

Founded by Dr. Vinay Nair, TIFIN was a startup incubator and holding company with more than a dozen businesses, several of which have combined into TIFIN Wealth, a full-scale platform for wealth managers. It also operates Magnifi, a natural-language search-powered marketplace to help advisors make investment decisions.

In May 2022, TIFIN announced the close of its $109 million Series D funding round, which included Franklin Templeton and Motive Partners joining previous investors Hamilton Lane, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Morningstar and Broadridge.

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